A ‘new normal’ requires new tools for attendance and family engagement

Mini arrived in December 2020 at the School Culture Office in the Lansing School District of Michigan. Over the course of several months she came on board to help us assess the goals and strategies of our presence in the global epidemic. Minnie immediately organized our scattered data and worked to give families serious information about attendance by sending positive “nudges” via text messages, providing sympathetic support and guidance.

Mini is a chatbot.

Prior to joining the mini-team, we had commissioned an internal pilot to connect a team of district staff members to five families each for weekly inspections. The results were powerful, but the effort was extremely time consuming. We did not have the manpower to do the same for 10,000 families in our district.

Before the epidemic, it may have been difficult to accept AI-enabled chatbots. But the challenges presented last year created a desire to use new approaches to old problems. No thanks AllHere, Mini is now a key member of our team, helping us improve attendance rates and redefine family engagement in the era of Kovid-1 of.

Focus on what works.

To address attendance issues during epidemics, the first step we took was to research national and local policies for attendance that have already proven to work. Research suggests that the right message sent at the right time can change the way a family succeeds in school.

Studies show Parental involvement in student learning is the most accurate measure of academic success. Researchers at Columbia University went further Weekly automatic alerts for parents to study the consequences of their students’ missed assignments, grades and class absences. Vigilance reduced curriculum failures by 27 percent, increased class attendance by 12 percent, and increased student perception.

It is clear that, simply by closing the information gap between school and family and students, we can improve a wide range of educational outcomes. AllHere’s technology combines these proof-based strategies with chatbots to enable the extra level of personalization and communication you need in times of crisis.


Personalized Student Absence Alert (Credit: AllHere)

Texting is the most effective and fair way to communicate with families.

Most well-crafted letters किंवा or even emails शक्यता are unlikely to open these days, much less read. It’s very easy to move an announcement out of a crack. A study by AllHere found that only 6 percent of households access email every day and 40 percent access mail regularly. However, 98 percent of households were willing to open and reply to a text message.

Reliance on email and school website for communication is less effective for low-income families. In households with an annual income of less than 30,000, 44% of people lack home broadband and 46% lack computers. Mobile texting is the best way to ensure consistent and fair communication with families.

Build trust and improve family engagement with chatbots.

Each student starts the year with perfect attendance. So, how do we keep it that way? Solving long-term absences requires more than attendance intervention strategies. Recent events have made it clear what many experts already know – that attendance issues are in the unique situation of each student and family. You need to move away from blanket solutions and personalize your efforts, at the same time making it more scalable.

Mini’s greatest asset is her ability to learn and build a knowledge base that responds sympathetically to questions from parents and students. Last year, Mini was able to answer 96 percent of the questions that families sent her within 45 seconds. What she couldn’t answer was passed on to a member of our team. This allowed our staff to focus on the most profound support for families in need of human touch. Previously, this feedback loop always required a response from a teacher or administrator. Mini is now communicating directly to us in many languages.

In the last year and a half, our education system has presented some of the biggest challenges in decades. Schools need district assistance to navigate changes and adapt to new policies that combine cutting-edge technology with evidence-based policies. As a district-wide initiative, Mini supports headmasters and teachers at the school level without doing too much for them.

Mini has become a friendly extension of our team, removing the burden of change management from our teachers and working as an assistant consultant to our families. Like Siri or Alexa, Mini is becoming a household name. Our community sees her as a useful tool, a reliable way to get quick answers to their questions. Yes, she is a chatbot. But when families feel listened to and supported, the questions go away whether it matters or not.

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